The nominations for the 2014 Kaedrin Movie Awards were announced last week. Today, I’ll be announcing the winners of said awards. Next week, I’ll cover less traditional categories in what we like to call the Arbitrary Awards, and not long after that, I’ll post my top 10 of 2014. At some point, those other awards, I think they’re called Oscars or something, will happen as well, and we’ll probably do our normal predictions and live-tweeting as well. But I digress, let’s get back to the important stuff:
- Best Villain/Badass: Koba, played by Toby Kebbell in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Despite a reasonable crop of villains this year, it appears that the only non-human nominee takes the cake. And Koba is a fantastic villain, in part because you can actually see where he’s coming from. Of course, he ends up going way to far with his actions (he really becomes a turd, a villain you love to hate), but his mistrust of humans is not unwarranted.
Honorable mention goes to Amy Dunne, played Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl, who may end up being a more memorable villain in the long term, but is also almost cartoonishly evil. Also of note is Eva Green, who gives her all in a rather awful movie (300: Rise of an Empire) and even chews up the screen in a movie not nominated that I just caught up with: Sin City: A Dame to Kill For) (another terrible and unnecessary sequel). To the extent that these two movies are watchable, it’s almost entirely due to Eva Green’s fearless performances. Someone needs to give her a real vehicle.
- Best Hero/Badass: Rita, played by Emily Blunt in Edge of Tomorrow. This was an difficult choice, and I kept bouncing between Rita, John Wick, and M. Gustave. In truth, I do think that the character of Rita gets a bit of short shrift in the end, but she’s just so great all the way through and I think that’s primarily due to Emily Blunt’s performance. Also, she uses a helicopter blade as a weapon, which is totally badass.
As much as I enjoyed John Wick and as cromulent as Keanu Reeves is in the part, there’s nothing there we haven’t seen before. As for Ralph Fiennes, well, we’ll get to him in a moment. And the other nominees here were no slouch. Godzilla has many flaws as a film, but the titular monster is not one of them and really saved the movie for me. I love Groot, but it’s hard to single out any individual member of the Guardians of the Galaxy for this award. Miss Duan would have been an interesting choice, but her character takes some weird turns, as does Journey to the West in general. Still, Rita takes it.
- Best Comedic Performance: M. Gustave, played by Ralph Fiennes in The Grand Budapest Hotel. A big upset here, seeing as though I didn’t even bother to nominate Fiennes for this award last week. However, I definitely meant to (and thought I did!) and catching some of Grand Budapest on TV this week really cemented it. It seems that write-in votes have a much better chance when only one person is voting. The problem with the nominees is that they tend to be part of a larger ensemble, and while fantastic, they don’t quite have the singular quality that this award implies. Fiennes performance is truly a masterclass, and hysterically funny to boot, so he takes it. Of the other nominees, I was thinking Channing Tatum, Jason Bateman, or James Franco, and thankfully, I don’t have to actually make that choice. Phew.
- Breakthrough Performance: Jillian Bell in 22 Jump Street. This is always a weird award, but I’m giving it to Bell for her scene stealing performance opposite Jonah Hill. A small part, to be sure, but she shows great promise and wonderful comedic timing. Runner up would be Dave Bautista for Guardians of the Galaxy, who was just so unexpected. Chris Pratt also worth a mention, though I guess he’d been breaking through in smaller roles for a while now. Also of note, a bevy of performances Gone Girl that were great and forced me to hit up IMDB to see what all these great actors have been doing. Unfortunately, the breadth of options split the votes between Gone Girl nominees, so they couldn’t win.
- Most Visually Stunning: Under the Skin. And not just because it stars Scarlett Johansson in a revealing part. My preference for this award trends more towards well photographed movies than special effects extravaganzas, which is what befell Interstellar and maybe The Lego Movie. Still lots to choose from though, and all the nominees are rather gorgeous, in their way.
I just wanted to throw Under the Skin some love now, as it’s a movie I respect but don’t particularly love (and the visuals are what kept my attention, despite the movie being way too long for its content).
- Best Sci-Fi or Horror Film: Coherence and The One I Love (Tie). A pretty good crop of nominees this year, and I really just couldn’t decide between these two low-budget SF(ish) films (Both highly recommended for SF fans). Funny, because this year boasted a few high-budget blockbusters, something that doesn’t normally happen in this category. In the end, had to go with my gut on this one.
- Best Sequel/Reboot: Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Man, this category is unusually strong this year. I often find that comic book series often have a great second film, and Captain America really delivered in that respect.
The rest of the nominees were also rather good, with special mention to Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, mostly because I really didn’t care for the first movie (it was fine, but I didn’t get the love for it).
- Biggest Disappointment: How to Train Your Dragon 2. A funny choice, because I think I like this better than all the other nominees. The thing with this award, though, is that it’s a game of expectations. I didn’t expect Spider Man 2 to be anything special, so while it was still mildy disappointing (because it’s not like I wanted it to be as bad as it was), it didn’t provide quite as much of a problem because my expectations just weren’t that high. But I really, really grew to love the first How to Train Your Dragon (thanks to frequent cable airings at some point), so I was much more crestfallen by the sequel, even though it was “fine” in most respects.
- Best Action Sequences: The Raid 2: Berandal. Duh. Though honorable mentions go to The Winter Soldier for a few great, varied sequences, Fury for what may be the best tank battles on film (a pity the rest of the movie doesn’t live up to that), and John Wick for just being generally badass (I feel bad that I’m shutting it out in the awards so far, so perhaps we’ll see something in the Arbitrary Awards for this sucker).
- Best Plot Twist/Surprise: Gone Girl. Always a tricky award to talk about, as I don’t really want to give anything away (is just nominating a movie for an award a spoiler in itself? I sure hope not!) This movie, though, really kept me on my toes. Even when I had a decent handle on what would happen, something else that was unexpected would happen. Other nominees were good too, will refrain from spoilers. You should totally watch them all.
- Best High Concept Film: The Lego Movie and Boyhood (Tie). It’s unbelievable that The Lego Movie turned out to be this fantastic, sticking to its gimmick when it comes to the animation, but then doing other interesting and playful things with the narrative that were completely unexpected (and yes, high concept). Boyhood is a movie I have a tremendous amount of respect for due to the gimmick at its heart: it was filmed over the course of 12 years with the same actors. This way of capturing the passage of time over years is rare and impressive, but the reason I can’t just give the award to Boyhood is that I just didn’t particularly enjoy the movie. I know, I know, I’m the worst. I do want to recognize the effort though… Also, I probably should have nominated Birdman for this category, even if I don’t think I’d give it the win (don’t worry, it’ll get some love in the Arbitrary Awards).
- 2014’s 2013 Movie of the Year: The Way Way Back. One of the many coming-of-age tales that peppered 2013’s movie landscape, this was a really enjoyable variation on the theme (and actually better than several of the others I saw that year). Frozen comes in a close second place in the voting, but alas…
And there you have it! Stay tuned for the Arbitrary Awards and (eventually) a top 10 of 2014…